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The Devil Is in the Details: A Randomized Experiment Assessing the Effect of Providing Examples in a Survey Question across Countries

Aizpurúa, E., Bottoni, G. & Fitzgerald, R. (2022). The Devil Is in the Details: A Randomized Experiment Assessing the Effect of Providing Examples in a Survey Question across Countries. Field Methods, doi: 10.1177/1525822x221115506

Abstract

Despite the widespread use of examples in survey questions, very few studies have examined their impact on survey responses, and the evidence is mainly based on data collected in the United States using questionnaires in English. This study builds on previous research by examining the effects of providing examples using data from a cross-national probability-based web panel implemented in Estonia (n = 730), Great Britain (n = 685), and Slovenia (n = 529) during Round 8 of the European Social Survey (2017/18). Respondents were randomly assigned a survey question measuring confidence in social media using Facebook and Twitter as examples, or another condition in which no examples were offered. The results show that confidence in social media was significantly lower in the example condition, although the effect size was small. Confidence in social media varied across countries, and the effect of providing examples was heterogeneous across countries and education levels. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
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